March 20, 2008

Mickey Kaus on the Obama speech: "I thought it was a disaster for him."

Since people seem to want to talk about the Obama speech, and the number of comments on the previous post is getting close to the point where you have to know where to click to see the newer ones, I thought I'd put up another post — especially since Mickey Kaus is so interesting on the subject for so long on this new episode of Bloggingheads — with Bob Wright — whose interestingness is constrained by: 1. illness and 2. affection for Obama.

The "elite commentators" may be having "Obamagasms" over the speech, but "in terms of reaching the voters he needs to reach, i.e., white male voters, especially non-college-educated white male voters, especially in Pennsylvania, he... actively alienated them." First, "the chutzpah": Obama gets in trouble, and "he uses it as a teaching moment to lecture people on race." Second, he equates black rage and white anger and "is very condescending" toward white people. Third, he "completely misses the boat" about crime and welfare, the 2 issues that brought white men back to the Democrats after the Reagan Era.

But I'm not going to transcribe it all. Go listen.

119 comments:

Parker Smith said...

I thought he was pretty fly, for a white guy...

Salamandyr said...

I'm not sure if Kaus is right. Obama's speech left a wonderful first impression to most folks. Sure, there seems to be some fridge logic going on now (fridge logic=you watch a show you think is great, then later, as you're getting up to get a beer during the commercial you think about it and spot the holes). But that's people who talk politics. For people who consume these speeches and move on; it made a very nice impression and that's it. They're doing something else with their day and as far as they're concered, the Wright thing is answered.

Alan said...

Does Bob Wright remind anyone else of Niles Crane?

dbp said...

It might be solved for now--Obama may still get the D. nomination. But all of this has given a huge opportunity for the Republicans in the general election.

If Obama looses Pennslyvania and/or Ohio in the general, it is hard to see how he can win enough electoral votes.

peter hoh said...

alan: yes he does.

peter hoh said...

Given Iraq and the state of the economy, this might be a good election to lose.

Middle Class Guy said...

“In my neighborhood there are a lot of meth dealers…”

This may be unfair, but Kaus sounds like he has partaken of their merchandise.

Elliott A said...

Once the speech is studied, which it will be for many weeks, the holes will become obvious. Didn't answer the real question of judgement, threw grandmother under the bus, etc. Geraldine Ferraro provided the perfect example of why Clarence Thomas states he is against affirmative action by calling into question any African-American's accomplishments, arational question in the circumstances, and got equated with Obama's hate-spewing pastor.

This speech was a great opportunity for candor, admitting that his original joining of the church was politically motivated, yet he continued the dance around the issue. It will be like a stone tied to his ankle which will drown him in the general election.

John Z. said...

Just look at the polls: Obama's numbers have taken a nose dive as a result of that speech.

But maybe if Democrats keep repeating to themselves how wonderful it was -- and stuff their fingers in their ears and shout nananana -- those bad poll numbers will disappear.

George said...

All this is very similar the gushing praise the Beltway pundits had for Romney's religion speech.

It was cheese, and no one bought it, except the people who already supported Romney, and, in the end, there weren't enough of them. Too many holes in the Swiss.

Same with Sen. Obama.

The idea that the Dem. party would nominate a Senator whose minister who says "God damn America" is almost as ridiculous as nominating a candidate who publicly testified against soldiers in time of war.

Middle Class Guy said...

John Z. said...
Just look at the polls: Obama's numbers have taken a nose dive as a result of that speech.

That is this week. People's memories are short. Too much information overload. As soon as Hillary, one of her supporters, or ole Uncle Festus himself makes a gaffe, the polls will reverse. It is just a matter of time.

As Mike Royko was fond of saying, the only poll that matters is the final election numbers.

save_the_rustbelt said...

The "viral video" phenomena could decide this election, which is scary.

Forget debates and campign commercials, what will hit Youtube?
What is next?

Really scary, for both sides.

Simon said...

dbp said...
"If Obama looses Pennslyvania and/or Ohio in the general, it is hard to see how he can win enough electoral votes."

As a general matter, unless the present electoral map is quite seriously shaken up, the winner has to win any two of Fla., Penn. and Ohio. The interesting aspect of this election is that it seems as though McCain and Obama would both have the potential to shake up the map, but taking the safe assumptions about the map, I agree with you.

Middle Class Guy said...
"[The falling poll numbers] is this week. People's memories are short. Too much information overload."

Here's what the commercial's going to look like: there'll be various clips of Wright saying kooky things. Then there'll be a clip of Obama saying that he can't disown Wright. Then fade to McCain campaign logo with the voiceover "this Tuesday, vote to keep this man and his mentor out of the White House." Voters have short attention spans, but they're often quite shallow as well.

Revenant said...

Boy, Bob Wright does NOT know what the hell he is talking about. He's talking like the only people voting in 2008 will be liberal Democrats.

Bob said...

I thought his speech was okay but I was bothered by two aspects. First I didn't understand how he trashed his grandmother when she raised him. She wasn't perfect, ok. But why trash her like that?

Second aspect was how conventional he framed race relations. I would have thought that instead of black-white he would have really explored how multi-racial the US is. He framed it as bi-polar and that struck me as outdated. I suspect this didn't help him though he sure got great initial reviews.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

There are two questions: 1) Was it a good speech? 2) Did it resolve the Wright controversy? I think people are coming up with completely different ideas about the speech, because some of them are dealing just with the first question and not at all with the second.

SteveR said...

This speech was a great opportunity for candor, admitting that his original joining of the church was politically motivated,

Careful Elliott A., Mortimer B. will accuse you of supporting Cecil Rhodes' position on colonialism. If that doesn't make sense, it didn't make sense to me either.

madawaskan said...

I don't know Obama might have tried to save it-

it could be by design that the protagonists are all female.

The vote being catered to in this democrat primary has been ironically the white male vote.

Notice that all of the protagonists in Obama's story are white females?

Now are you going to be a man and vote for me against these Hillarys or are you going to identify with their whiteness?

If he goes on about Bill's comments or Biden's then guess what?

The male blue collar PA democrat primary voter might be in danger of over identifying with-

Bill and/or Biden. Better to attack the females-that's safer.


On the other hand, Obama could have lost it- aren't all old people scared of all men of a certain age on the street?

Aren't all females scared to be out on the street at a certain time?

Now compound that-you're an older female?

Rationally you should feel pretty damn vulnerable.

Obama doesn't seem to have much empathy for that.

Now I don't know exactly what Obama is doing with her story.

But there is a method to the protagonists being female.

Obama's peole have been trying to link the Wright with the Catholic mess, and then they are turning the fears of the older populace and females into-I don't know what they are implying but-

Good luck with that!

Pennsylvania's demographic-

It's older and more Catholic than the norm.

Also within the older populace by definition that voter due to survivability rates is more female.

The Democrat party is by larger proportions female.

And if a Democrat loses Pennsylvania in the general?

Well...

Ed Rendell won't even be able to save it.

The Philly by hook or by crook voting machine won't be able to save it.

Trooper York said...

Grandma Lilly: Oh listen, your mother tells me that you need a place to stay.
Alex: Yeah...
Grandma Lilly: Just so you know, Sophie left us two weeks ago, so her room is available if you need it.
Alex: Oh? Where'd Sophie move to?
Grandma Lilly: Heaven.
Alex: Racist.
Grandma Lilly: What?
Alex: Oh nothing, grandma. Can I have a cookie?
(Grandma's Boy, 2006)

Simon said...

Chris, I think that's exactly right, and there's a difficulty in that the answer to the first question is the less important one. That Obama gives a good speech is rather dog bites man - that was already the conventional wisdom. He didn't give this speech, however, just to give a speech - it was scheduled to deal with a specific problem. And it not only failed to resolve, but (at least in my view) barely even addressed the issue that's actually troubling people. Instead, by orienting the speech around race, all he accomplished was revealing a belief that his critics are motivated by racial animus.

Fritz said...

This is great for America. We get rid of the phony radical leftist Obama and a complete split of African Americans away from the Democratic Party. They will never forgive Hillary for stealing his nomination. The race-baiting Party has screwed the black man. When blacks split their vote between both parties, then we can have a conversation on race.

B said...

Rasmussen Presidential Poll today, Thursday March 20, 2008

McCain 51%
Clinton 41%

McCain 49%
Obama 42%


McCain rising steadily for over 1 week.

(Rasmussen predicted a McCain Republican Presidential Candidacy almost 2 weeks before anyone else):

Middle Class Guy said...

Fritz said...
and a complete split of African Americans away from the Democratic Party.

O do not envision that happening. While some numbers of Black voters will switch over, for whatever reason, I think if Obama does not make it, most Blacks will just sit out the election.

Revenant said...

It could have been the best speech in the history of the universe, but how many people actually saw it, who weren't already Obama supporters? How many will EVER see it?

Does it resolve the Wright issue? Of course it doesn't. He made excuses for Wright, and drew a parallel between Wright's behavior and white racism. That probably closed the issue for white people who are plagued by white guilt, but they were voting for him anyway. For the other folks, for the swing voters, I don't see how it closes the issue. Wright is a bigot; Obama's church is obsessed not just with race, but with racialism and racial solidarity. To the average middle-class white swing voter who doesn't think of himself as racist and doesn't like hearing anyone, white or otherwise, make racist remarks, excusing that sort of neo-supremacism in a close associate by saying "well my grandma was racist too" just doesn't fly. Dismissing white concerns over affirmative action, crime, and welfare as mere racial anger also doesn't fly. Those things hurt the white middle class, and black America plays a big part in them. You can't just pat the nice little white folks on the head and expect them to forget about it.

madawaskan said...

You know if your a dude and you are calling out Geraldine as a racist who btw called out her own nomination as being about her own femaleness-

So you are all up in Geraldine's face but have no problem with Biden or Bill or hell how about Howard Dean's comments?

You just might be a chauvinist.

But we're all honkey dorey with that.

Hell we got young girls calling each other bitches, and hos-

Gotta love that rap music-which hell I do and you know what-

I'm all for the girls owning it.

It's about the only move.

Middle Class Guy said...

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...
There are two questions: 1) Was it a good speech? 2) Did it resolve the Wright controversy? I think people are coming up with completely different ideas about the speech, because some of them are dealing just with the first question and not at all with the second.


Exactly.

Middle Class Guy said...

Voters have short attention spans, but they're often quite shallow as well.


Ah, keep the memory alive!

madawaskan said...

But gawd I do hope the bitches bite you in your condescending Liberal ass!

Ya baby!

titusjazzpodaberetpodaberettandue said...

Mickey Kaus is really gross looking.

I watched this for like 5 minutes and couldn't finish because he was so physically repulsive.

I had no idea what he said but he is one ugly mofo.

bearbee said...

As Mike Royko was fond of saying, the only poll that matters is the final election numbers.

Mike Royko, wow. Hard-hitting, honest, funny and fearless. I used to wonder when the Chicago mob would finally take him out. He was a thorn in the side of any Chicago pol dealing in graft or cronyism.

ZPS said...

Ann is proud that her racist, completely out of touch commenters are going over the 200 comment threshold, and that people don't know (!) where to find the 201+ comments. So she creates multiple posts all criticizing the same things in the same tired, strictly partisan ways to keep her commenters from foaming at the mouth. Relax boys, Ann is here for you.

Meanwhile, reality check to Ann and her fans...

Despite all the ridiculous claims and ass backwards theories on race relations in America being made here......

it's the same 23 commenters repeating themselves with 5 or 6 comments each!

There's the occasional troll and the occasional dissenter...but in the end, I am happy that it's only the same small quantity of 23, maybe 24 people. So small...so miserable and non-representative in the big picture.

Have fun...

Alan said...

Was the speech good? Yes.

Did he resolve the issue? No. From what I'm hearing, Obama threw his beautiful white granny under the bus while still embracing Wright's racism. So there is no other way to look at Barack HUSSIEN Obama than as an angry black man who hates America. And hates white people and apple pie.

dbp said...

Who ever heard of a conversation where each of 200 different people each said one thing?

Trooper York said...

Grandma Lilly: You will be living with me for a while. You mom is moving to Borneo. She met a new fella.
Alex: But aren’t they cannibals over there.
Grandma Lilly: We don’t call them cannibals dear. We call them Homosapientarians.
Alex: Well it might be dangerous. They might try to eat her.
Grandma Lilly: Don’t worry dear, nobody wants to eat hairy hippie chicks.
Alex: Racist.
Grandma Lilly: What?
Alex: Oh nothing, grandma. Can I have a cookie?
(Grandma's Boy, 2006)

dbp said...

I don't think Obama is a racist, but I think fair-minded people will wonder why he gives Wright a pass, but cuts no slack to a person like Imus.

bearbee said...

Who ever heard of a conversation where each of 200 different people each said one thing?

Maybe it is one person using 200 different ID's.....

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

"O do not envision that happening. While some numbers of Black voters will switch over, for whatever reason, I think if Obama does not make it, most Blacks will just sit out the election."

Blacks won't switch parties in any significant numbers. The Republicans have been successfully, if unfairly, portrayed as rich, white, and racist. However if they feel betrayed by the Democrats (and if they really understood how the Dems have set them back, they already would) they'll just cynically sit out the election. Which will have the net positive effect of increasing the Republican margin of victory.

John K. said...

Do you people really think that somebody running for POTUS "hates" America? Personally, I'm glad that at least one person running for that position has a long-standing close relationship with someone who is evidently "angry" at America. "Anger" does not necessarily equal "hate." This "controversy" sure does demonstrate that we expect something much different -- something much more sanitized and unoffending -- from our preachers and prophets than we did in days of yore. Just as a primary purpose of the court jester was to keep the king humble by reminding him of his folly, so has it been the charge of prophets to denounce his sins and oppressions.

Here's a good article (titled "Jeremiah Wright: True and False"):

http://antiwar.com/henderson/?articleid=12553

former law student said...

Mickey Kaus essentially complains why Obama didn't make white racists feel good about their racism. I would caption the dialog: Obama fails to Uncle Tom it up.

Welfare is over, by the way. Doesn't make much sense for Obama to dwell on that. Obama merely pointed out that we all have racists in our family, and that he wasn't going to throw Wright under the bus any more than he would throw Grandma under the bus.

why he gives Wright a pass, but cuts no slack to a person like Imus.

Imus commemorated the team achievement of some fine young women with libel per se ("hos") gratuitously garnished with an ethnic slur ("nappy-headed")

For his part Wright explained why black Americans should identify with Obama instead of Hillary. He also explained how what goes around, comes around; that our support of Israel made us enemies in the Muslim world. He also exhorted America to act more humbly and submit to God's authority, and to treat black Americans with full equality, instead of allowing drugs into the black community, and locking black people up for life.

Balfegor said...

Re: polls

That is this week. People's memories are short. Too much information overload.

I don't think the polls have really absorbed the impact of the speech yet, have they? The reaction is still principally to the "discovery" that Obama attends a radical church whose pastor occasionally preaches some things people find kind of repulsive and anti-American. Obama's numbers may recover somewhat following the speech.

As for the speech, I didn't watch it, just browsed through the text. I think it's a little dishonest, and the parallels Obama struggles to draw are pat and unconvincing, but it's still better than the vast majority of politicians talking about race, because they usually restrict themselves to banalities and lies. Points for effort.

Re: dpb

I don't think Obama is a racist, but I think fair-minded people will wonder why he gives Wright a pass, but cuts no slack to a person like Imus.

What's there to wonder about? He can denounce Imus for political advantage. There's not really any political advantage in really distancing himself from Wright, e.g. by quitting his church and finding a pastor who doesn't occasionally froth race-hate. Who would believe it to be a choice of principle at this point, rather than a choice forced by a public outcry?

This isn't someone, like Samantha Power or Austan Goolsbee, who has entered into an association with Obama just recently. This is a man whom he sought out, and with whom he has associated for 20 years. Leaving his church might bring a round of golf claps from pundits for doing the "right thing," but it wouldn't overcome 20 years of voluntary and enthusiastic association. Particularly when, as Obama has, you've had to edge back from your initial claims that you didn't know your pastor occasionally trafficked in this kind of hate. For voters who find Wright's rhetoric revolting, questions would still remain -- as I expect they do even after Obama's speech.

He's not giving Wright a pass so much as struggling against the context here. He's doing the best he can to dig himself out of the mess he's in, and it remains to be seen whether he's succeeded or not.

All that said, re:

First, "the chutzpah": Obama gets in trouble, and "he uses it as a teaching moment to lecture people on race."

What did Kaus think was going to happen? Did he expect a grand show of penance and an announcement that he's withdrawing his candidacy?

Alan said...

What prophets do you speak of, John.K? I remember reading on some RW blog that Obama was a "disciple" of Wright's. Would that make Wright a prophet? Was he prophetic in calling God to damn America?

Middle Class Guy said...

ZPS said…
Ann is proud that her racist, completely out of touch commenters…
…So small...so miserable and non-representative in the big picture.



My, my, my, another one! People who do not share your point of view are racists. Gee, the whole world must be racist except you.

If we are so small, miserable, and non-representative in the big picture, you are insignificant in the larger scheme of life. Now go write the great American poem or something and let the adults have their fun.


dbp said...
Who ever heard of a conversation where each of 200 different people each said one thing?


ZPS, a conversation of one.

Anthony said...

Obama's problem isn't that he gave a great speech on the issue, but that he had to give one in the first place. He dealt with it very poorly right from the beginning by denying he'd ever heard anything bad from Wright, but then having to admit in the speech that, well, yeah, he'd heard stuff, but that's OK.

It just gives people the impression that he's not being straight with them.

Trooper York said...

Grandma Lilly: Don’t worry dear. You will love it here in Honolulu. You can learn to surf and go to the beach and have lots of fun. I have enrolled you in the Punahou School. It will be fun.
Alex: But I don’t want to go to school. You ain’t the boss of me. You’re not my mother.
Grandma Lilly: No I am not your mother. But I am taking care of you now. I will feed you and cloth you and make you go to school. But I love you honey.
Alex: I hate you, I hate you. I want my mommy. I want my daddy.
Grandma Lilly: I am sorry honey but they just aren’t here. But I am and I will take care of you.
Alex: Racist.
Grandma Lilly: What?
Alex: Oh nothing, grandma. Can I have a cookie?
(Grandma's Boy, 2006)

Revenant said...

Do you people really think that somebody running for POTUS "hates" America?

I have no idea if Obama hates America or if he simply has no problem with people who do. But why is it so unthinkable that a Presidential candidate might loathe the country he seeks to rule? Aren't ego and lust for power sufficient reasons to seek one of the most powerful and high-profile positions in the history of the world? You don't have to love a group of people before you can want to tell them what to do.

Here's a good article (titled "Jeremiah Wright: True and False")

Any article about why Wright isn't really a horrible bigot... hosted by a notorious home of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists. Is this an attempt at ironic humor?

Cedarford said...

If Obama isn’t willing to voice his concerns and objections with Wright and stand up for his country as it is being slandered by his pastor, what can we expect from Obama when he is asked to stand up against some of America's true foreign enemies that hate the country as much as Wright does?

Not once in his speech, which was all about "nationalizing" his particular problem of hanging with an angry racist without having to explain himself - did he admit any error, any willingness to dissassociate himself from black liberation, black separatism theology.
***************

His pretty speech nonwithstanding, with all it's moral equivalencies cast between racist preachers and fearful old ladies and icons admitting affirmative action and identity politics helped them in 1984 - people keep coming up around him that have harsh words about America and its people's culture.
His wife.
His former good friend Ali Abunimah, founder of the Palestinian Electronic Intifada.

His Mom's various anti-American, anti-white male conversations.
Shakir Mohammed, his NOI organizer. Cynthia Miller, his NOI Treasurer for his Senate run. Jennifer Alason of NOI, his current Senate constituent services director and intern hirer.

And all the Left activists of Chicago politics. Including former terrorists, SDS members. Plus Hamhzi Auchi, former weapons supplier to Saddam and Ba'ath Party member now Iraq Billionaire who paid for much of Obama's campaigns through Rezko, and it appears who was the source of Barack's extra house funds...

*****************
Henry (from last thread) -Dust Bunny Queen said, Anyone with the same skinny resume and short tenure in public office as Obama has, would never be considered as a viable candidate for the highest office in our country. The same goes for Clinton.

And the same goes for JFK. And Abraham Lincoln. And Mr. Obscure Governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton.

NO, DBQ is right about both Barry O and Mrs. Clinton being very under qualified. Both have less quals in national office, relevant executive experience, than any President in US history. Even Warren Harding.

Obama groupies like to say he had more experience than JFK, Bill Clinton, or Lincoln. All preposterous.
Bill Clinton was 14 years as an executive deision-maker.
JFL was a wartime military commander, captain of a small, independently operating warship. He was 14 years in national office after that. Just as his opponent Nixon was in 1960, though Nixon was ahead on the "quality" of his feats...
Lincoln was a wartime military commander, leading a company of men in the Black Hawk Wars and doing military training since his teens. He had his own shipping biz as a young man. As a lawyer, Lincoln was functioning primarily in his later years as an executive for the railroads. His contemporary title, as the "face" governments saw of one of the most powerful men in the Midwest might be "Sr Vice President of Corporate Affairs". He had his own private railroad car and telegraph operator as he met with rival forms, shippers, cartage companies, regulators, mills. Lincoln was also one of the founders and national leaders of the Republican Party who went east frequently to bind railroad interests AND bind his free soilers to abolitionists.
Lincoln was also an orator, like Obama, but had lived a far more consequential and executive decision-making life before he ran for President.

Liberals have a hard time with understanding why it is important that the Chief Executive have some executive experience, considering the voters liking a candidate - enough. In the Federalist papers, they discussed the need for the Chief Executive to have proved (him)self in other areas before taking the highest job - as a leader in the military, business, the people's affairs. 35 was thought a minimum to get those critical life experiences. Nothing about oratorical skills listed there.

****************

Revenant said...

Mickey Kaus essentially complains why Obama didn't make white racists feel good about their racism. I would caption the dialog: Obama fails to Uncle Tom it up.

I encourage you to keep labeling all white people who are concerned about welfare, crime, and affirmative action as racists. Really, keep it up. Until November, if possible. :)

I remember a few months back, Jonah Goldberg predicted that segments of the electorate would become completely unhinged if Obama lost. Lo and behold, he hits his first major problem of the campaign season and his supporters totally lose their shit. Looks like Jonah called it.

dix said...

My, my, my, another one! People who do not share your point of view are racists. Gee, the whole world must be racist except you.

Well, one definition of racist is someone winning an argument with a liberal.

Balfegor said...

Re: Revenant

I have no idea if Obama hates America or if he simply has no problem with people who do.

I think the concern many people have is not that they think Obama is racist like his pastor, or that he believes in the same conspiracy theories that his pastor does, or that he wants God to damn the USA -- it's that he gives that kind of extremism a patina of legitimacy, when most people think there's a pale of public discourse and Wright's ravings are firmly on the wrong side. That's a way of saying "has no problem with people who do," perhaps, but there's a symbolic aspect to the Presidency that should be highlighted in this connexion. Particularly for someone like Obama, whose Presidential campaign is so dependent on symbolism and aesthetics, Wright sends a jarring countersignal about the candidate and his promise for the future.

radar said...

It is difficult to get a table to look correct in a Blogger comment, but here is a histogram of comments in the previous Obama thread.

40% of the 200 comments were from the top 5 commenters.

Trooper_York                            21
Middle_Class_Guy                        20
reader_iam                              18
titusjazzpodaberetpodaberettandue       16
Freder_Frederson                        14
Doyle                                   11
former_law_student                       9
Paul                                     9
Norman_Rogers                            6
MadisonMan                               6
Palladian                                5
ricpic                                   5
TMink                                    4
Henry                                    3
Trumpit                                  3
Bob                                      2
Sloanasaurus                             2
Chip_Ahoy                                2
Cedarford                                2
Paul_Zrimsek                             2
George                                   2
chickenlittle                            2
rhhardin                                 2
UWS_guy                                  2
Kev                                      2
The_Drill_SGT                            1
rcocean                                  1
Dust_Bunny_Queen                         1
Richard_Dolan                            1
ZPS                                      1
Crimso                                   1
Ann_Althouse                             1
EnigmatiCore                             1
c+k                                      1
dbp                                      1
Emily                                    1
Hoosier_Daddy                            1
Ti-Guy                                   1
Tim                                      1
John_K.                                  1
Alan                                     1
Balfegor                                 1
paul_a'barge                         1
Shan                                     1
AllenS                                   1
Daryl                                    1
TWB                                      1
Revenant                                 1
El_Presidente                            1
Kyle                                     1
Michael_H                                1
madawaskan                               1
Yachira                                  1
garage_mahal                             1
Synova                                   1

madawaskan said...

Wait I was reading reader_iam where she said Obama nevere did the later part of this-

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

So I have to take back what I said.

I can't follow the progression of that story-it's changing already.

But I thought the implication was that if you were scared on the street as an old female that made you a racist if the unkown person was...well more than just a younger male.

I thought that was all he was saying because I trusted what I thought eas reader_iam's point.

I find her to be a very fair commenter, so I probably missed what she was trying to say.

ricpic said...

In Obama's world race trumps gratitude to his grandmother, race trumps love for her, race trumps honoring her memory. But Obama's not a racist. Oh no.
The sophisticated upper class whites can get past that; the dumb lower class whites, not so much.

madawaskan said...

Damn it I need an Obama decoder...

Revenant said...

What did Kaus think was going to happen? Did he expect a grand show of penance and an announcement that he's withdrawing his candidacy?

Obama could have said that he has been troubled for a long time by Wright's intolerance, but stayed with the church out of respect to the man who brought him to Christ. He could then have said that as a man who wishes to lead a great nation, he can no longer continue to support Wright and his church, or any other people who preach hate in place of love. And *then* he could go on to give his big speech about racial reconciliation.

That would have put the issue to rest, at least so far as swing voters are concerned. But now, well, after all the pretty words are spoken Obama's still hanging out with bigots and attending a church that promotes racist theology. A lot of swing voters are going to be troubled by that.

Trooper York said...

Very interesting radar. But my comments and titus and reader were not really all on point, but rather a little something fun to keep it from getting it too dry and dusty. Think of it as lube.

Middle Class Guy said...

Cedarford,
You, like many others before you, have left out one very important fact about Lincoln. He was basically self taught, home schooled in modern times. He did not have the pedigree of an Ivy League education or top flight law school; he did not attend law school. He read for the law- an internship.

Revenant said...

and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

But that's to be expected of a "typical white person". You know what they're like...

blogging cockroach said...

hey radar
you forgot me little me
i put up a comment on that thread
but it was after the cutoff and wound up in blogger limbo
anyway i think its speciesist of you to forget a representative
of the insect majority

but to prove im not bitter one bit i will repost what i wrote over there--

this is one of the finest and most intelligent discussions
about electoral politics i have ever heard or read
you are all to be congratulated

despite obamas brilliant speech i am not convinced
thats because im the head of cockroaches for hillary
here in cambridge mass
so i know who i would support in the general election
of course being a loyal democrat means i will vote for obama if necessary
im just not sure if anyone would let me
it being very hard to work those levers by someone my size
but this being massachusetts and all im sure something can be worked out

now after all this high-mindedness i am sorry to say this doesn't help much

former law student said...

I encourage you to keep labeling all white people who are concerned about welfare, crime, and affirmative action as racists.

Being concerned about welfare is as obsolete as being concerned about Quemoy and Matsu -- Billy Jeff signed welfare's death certificate over a decade ago.

But why were white people concerned about welfare, crime, and affirmative action a quarter-century ago? The white people I knew at that time believed that "niggers" unfairly benefited from the first and third, and were responsible for much of the second. Who piloted Reagan's Welfare Cadillac? It wasn't Jo Frost.

I don't know how to spin their attitudes as non-racist; spinning Wright's attitude as non-racist is a piece of cake by comparison.

madawaskan said...

Revenant-

Well that's not typical of the people I know, but then I'm not Obama-what do I know.

Matt said...

Kaus writes:
If he loses the votes of everyone who fears young black men, he loses the election.

In short Kaus is saying that Obama needs to white bigot voters to win.

reader_iam said...

So, here I am, at church, in the brief break between a Seder and the Maundy Thursday service, and there are clutches of people people talking about Obama vs. Hillary, Obama's speech & how it should be interpreted & differing reactions to it & etc. etc. etc, and also about delegate counts & superdelegates & the primary process and ... .

Art imitates life. Is IRL beginning to imitate the blogosphere?

The Lord be with us.

Revenant said...

Being concerned about welfare is as obsolete as being concerned about Quemoy and Matsu -- Billy Jeff signed welfare's death certificate over a decade ago.

Yes, little brain, but Obama painted the white people who were concerned about it before then as being motivated by racial anger. Those people he smeared are still alive and still voting -- and still the majority of the electorate.

But why were white people concerned about welfare, crime, and affirmative action a quarter-century ago?

White people are concerned about affirmative action because white people don't like being racially discriminated against. As all forms of affirmative action racially discriminate against white people, most white people take a dim view of affirmative action. The notion that only racists dislike being racially discriminated against is, of course, moronic, and you are cordially invited to keep promoting it.

The white people I knew at that time believed that "niggers" unfairly benefited from the first and third

White people you knew thought that blacks benefited from affirmative action? Gee, how silly of them.

and were responsible for much of the second.

Between 1974 and 2004, 52.1% of the murders in the United States were committed by black people. Other violent crime statistics were similar. How strange that a white person might think black people were responsible for "much" of the crime wave.

Who piloted Reagan's Welfare Cadillac? It wasn't Jo Frost.

I'm glad to see you've taken my advice to heart. Hey, Reagan's *only* liked by 68% of independents -- go right on ahead painting him as someone whose popularity is based on racism. I'm sure all those white independents will appreciate your efforts.

Revenant said...

"If he loses the votes of everyone who fears young black men, he loses the election."

In short Kaus is saying that Obama needs to white bigot voters to win.

White bigot voters like Chris Rock and Jesse Jackson? :)

Balfegor said...

Re: Revenant

Obama could have said that he has been troubled for a long time by Wright's intolerance, but stayed with the church out of respect to the man who brought him to Christ. He could then have said that as a man who wishes to lead a great nation, he can no longer continue to support Wright and his church, or any other people who preach hate in place of love. And *then* he could go on to give his big speech about racial reconciliation.

That would have put the issue to rest, at least so far as swing voters are concerned.


Really? I'm not convinced that works. He could try the "as a man who wishes to lead a great nation" schtick, but that still opens the question of why now? -- why leave the man's church only now, when you've known the man says things like this for years?

I'm not sure swing voters -- even in the Democratic primary -- would buy it, when they can see, plain as day, that he's doing it only because Wright had suddenly become a liability, that if he could have snuck Wright past them, he'd happily have continued attending Wright's sermons and giving him money for the next 10 or 20 years. Or, I suppose, for the next year or two, after which Wright will apparently retire. But his problem remains. He needs to explain why he stood there and listened to Wright for 20 years, and never lifted a finger to bring about positive change or racial healing or any of the other buzzwords he's built his campaign on.

The tactic you propose might provoke a brief positive reaction -- the "golf clap," as I think of it -- but would it last? His current ploy may fall apart as people pick apart his speech or mull it over by the fridge, but it at least has a chance of working for some people for the long term. The tactic you propose carries a much higher risk of coming off as naked opportunism with a veil of empty rhetoric.

blake said...

salamandyr sez "Obama's speech left a wonderful first impression to most folks."

How can anyone possibly know this? Were most people (or even a representative sample) being monitored during this?

Cedarford said...

I think the concern many people have is not that they think Obama is racist like his pastor, or that he believes in the same conspiracy theories that his pastor does, or that he wants God to damn the USA -- it's that he gives that kind of extremism a patina of legitimacy, when most people think there's a pale of public discourse and Wright's ravings are firmly on the wrong side.

It goes past the patina of legitimacy...to whether ot not with all the anti-American associates Obama has surrounded himself with - if he truly loves his country. Or race and race identity trumps all.

We the People could embrace Harry Truman then, and now, because while he was an asshole with ties to all sorts of odious people, at the end of the day, no one doubted Harry Truman fucking LOVED America.

Same with Reagan. None of that pomo, transnationalist shit for him.

We like JFK and future generations may study and like Nixon more, because both men were undiluted patriots...Awkward Bush I is liked now..because he stood with Americans.

Bush II is hated in part because he is a whore for the Corporatists shipping jobs out of America, his Open Borders, and belief that Americans should die so certain foreigners will have improved lives...

With John McCain, compared to Obama - does anyone doubt that Nasty Old John would fail to have choice words with anyone that said to his face "God-Damn America, Damn it!" or "We deserved 9/11"???
Even if it meant another 4 hours of being beaten to a pulp by communists, McCain would speak out.

*****************
Former Law Student - treat black Americans with full equality, instead of allowing drugs into the black community, and locking black people up for life.

Seems that any community that "allows" drugs, prostitution, kids to do anything but study, pop out kids while unmarried, and have trashe piled up 2 feet deep on their from yards only have themselves to blame.
And the fact that lots of blacks are locked up for life has less to do with racism - far more to do with the facts - that young black males are 7 times more likely to rape, 15 times more likely to do armed robbery, 6 times more likely to murder than members of other races.
And in my life, I have not seen a white person at work treat a black co-worker with anything other than equality and respect. But, I have seen young and old white women tense up or lock their car door when they see a crowd decked up as black thugs approach. Which is rational decision-making, not racism, IMO.
******************
ricpic said...
In Obama's world race trumps gratitude to his grandmother, race trumps love for her, race trumps honoring her memory. But Obama's not a racist. Oh no.
The sophisticated upper class whites can get past that; the dumb lower class whites, not so much.


My conversations on this were with Obama supporters, Hillary supports, grudging Mccain supporters, aged 30-45. A few 20 somethings. A few mentioned it was a good speech. A few mentioned they were really bothered that Obama seems OK with people having racist black or anti-American views as not a "wash my hands of this loser from now on" kind of thing, while screaming for any white person's head. But ALL, everyone, mentioned that Obama threw the grandmother that raised him under the bus. And were deeply troubled by that.
None were lower class whites. The most deeply troubled were "filial-piety believing" minorities in fact - Asians, hispanics, blacks saying no matter what, you never, ever, ever betray or diss the mother or grandmother that helped raise you, in public.

Akin to cheering against your own son in Little League.
It-just-isn't-done!
**********************
Middle Class Guy - Cedarford,
You, like many others before you, have left out one very important fact about Lincoln. He was basically self taught.
.

Didn't want to, but in communicating why Obama supporters are wrong about Lincoln being as under qualified as Obama, I could write two-three pages of reasons why they don't know Lincoln. Had to go for brevity. Lincoln was also self-tought about the high tech, most profitable business of his time and how he and a few others were regularizing the New Commerce linking all parts of America through rail with the regulations, commercial agreements, and government-banking-rail synergies he helped think up.

Lots of the orginal contributors in fields are "self-taught" by necessity. No academic study really fits. Faraday, Edison, Gates, Lincoln, John Adams, etc. ....a long list.
***********************
Radar - Yes, Trooper York has posted a lot, but admit it, you have to enjoy at least 1/4th to 1/3rd of his posts! I am loving his SNL-skit worthy Grandma Lilly-Alex skits.

Balfegor said...

How can anyone possibly know this? Were most people (or even a representative sample) being monitored during this?

I'm sure the networks had a focus group all wired up while the speech was going. They did for every one of those interminable debates, after all, and this speech actually might have had some significance.

rcocean said...

If you dislike criminals,paying high taxes for a war on poverty that never achieves anything, or being discriminated against because your white - you're a racist.

The great liberal Viewpoint that gave us Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bush.

Revenant said...

Really? I'm not convinced that works. He could try the "as a man who wishes to lead a great nation" schtick, but that still opens the question of why now? -- why leave the man's church only now, when you've known the man says things like this for years?

I think he's smooth enough to deal with that kind of question. A much harder question to deal with is "why are you STILL going to that church?". Robert Byrd was able to cook up some flimsy rationalization for why he'd been an enthusiastic member of the Klan and why that didn't really mean that he was a hardcore racist who hated black people. Most of the black voters in his state bought it. Would they have bought it if had been trying it while still a member of the Klan? Former membership is a hell of a lot easier to explain than current membership.

Obama could have spun some tale about how the church was a major force in the community and he felt he had to be a part of it even if he didn't agree with it. But how can he explain belonging to it when it (a) is clearly hurting him politically and (b) is *offensive* to most of the people he hopes to represent?

He should have thrown Wright under the bus instead of his grandmother. He'd have taken a hit for it, but in the long run he'd have been better off.

John Z. said...

Has anybody heard the comments Obama made to that radio station in Philadelphia today? He was trying to explain his comments about his grandmother.

As I listened, I kept thinking "Stop digging, Obama".

Are you a typical white person?

Revenant said...

Are you a typical white person?

Do typical white people listen to The Average White Band?

Trooper York said...

"Radar - Yes, Trooper York has posted a lot, but admit it, you have to enjoy at least 1/4th to 1/3rd of his posts! I am loving his SNL-skit worthy Grandma Lilly-Alex skits."

Wow, Cedarford you are a very hard
marker. Remember the professor grades on the curve. But thanks for the kind words.

rcocean said...

it goes past the patina of legitimacy...to whether ot not with all the anti-American associates Obama has surrounded himself with - if he truly loves his country. Or race and race identity trumps all.

We the People could embrace Harry Truman then, and now, because while he was an asshole with ties to all sorts of odious people, at the end of the day, no one doubted Harry Truman fucking LOVED America.

Same with Reagan. None of that pomo, transnationalist shit for him.

With John McCain, compared to Obama - does anyone doubt that Nasty Old John would fail to have choice words with anyone that said to his face "God-Damn America, Damn it!" or "We deserved 9/11"???
Even if it meant another 4 hours of being beaten to a pulp by communists, McCain would speak out.


Well said, Cedarford.

Paul said...

"Obama could have said that he has been troubled for a long time by Wright's intolerance, but stayed with the church out of respect to the man who brought him to Christ. He could then have said that as a man who wishes to lead a great nation, he can no longer continue to support Wright and his church, or any other people who preach hate in place of love. And *then* he could go on to give his big speech about racial reconciliation."

No way. There's nothing Obama could have said to undo the damage to his reputation after everyone saw Wright's diatribes and learned that he had been Obama's mentor, the inspiration for the title of his book, and had been his pastor for 20 years. The Obamamanians will buy any explanation. Hell, a sizable slice of them agree with Wright. But the rest of America reacted like a spouse who finds out their husband or wife has been cheating on them. There is no way to put that toothpaste back in the tube. Obama will never be the POTUS. Never. And if he's the nominee people on the left will scream racism when he loses. We are likely to move backwards in our progress in racial healing because of this.

Trooper York said...

Grandma Lilly: Where have you been, you haven’t visited me in so long, since you went away to college.
Alex: Go away old lady, my preacher told me you are the devil.
Grandma Lilly: But I love you, I am so confused, why do you hate me.
Alex: I hate what you are and what you people did to me.
Grandma Lilly: But Dimmmy, why don’t you call…why did you leave me Dimmmy…(beckons’ with hands outstretched)
Alex: Racist.
Grandma Lilly: What?
Alex: Damn this is like a crappy old movie.
(Grandma's Boy, 2006)

Cedarford said...

ooper York said...
"Radar - Yes, Trooper York has posted a lot, but admit it, you have to enjoy at least 1/4th to 1/3rd of his posts! I am loving his SNL-skit worthy Grandma Lilly-Alex skits."

Wow, Cedarford you are a very hard
marker. Remember the professor grades on the curve. But thanks for the kind words.


I was being conservative. Bare minimum, ANY person should find at least 1/4 or 1/3rd rippingly funny. I personally like half the stuff you come up with. Worse, there is another 20% or so where I don't get the cultural root you are bouncing off of or the riff on an old joke or movie - but that I know everyone else in the crowd finds quite droll or intricately funny - and there I am again, feeling obligated to laugh at a joke I don't get from the obvious peer pressure that the majority likes it.(*sniff!* I feel as spineless as Obama on that Trooper York matter!) So you are at least 70% funny!

My Homage to your recent routine:

Alex: "Where have you been, Grams? I've been waiting two hours for dinner. Why are you limping?"
Grandma Lilly - "Dearie, I'm sorry I'm late, but two scary black youths knocked me down and stole my pocketbook. The police looked in a few dumpsters and found it, but no money, then I had to fill out a report."
Alex: "You should have called. I was hungry. And why exactly did you feel you had to say they were black and scary??"
Grandma Lilly: "Well, they were scary. One called me the B-word and tried kicking me when I was down but kicked his friend accidentally.
Alex: "He didn't hurt the other guy? I hope not. Who knows what America did to them to make them act out.."
Grandma Lilly: "Lets see what I can fix up. We have lots of Mac&Cheese to help the budget to pay for your school, but I bought a special Muslim curry for you while gramps & I will eat the mac and cheese again..And dear, if the two had been red-heads, I would have said I was mugged by red-heads..."
Alex: "Racist!"
Grandma Lilly: "What!"

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Sheesh, Radar, I just started commenting again two days ago after not doing so for six full weeks.

I'll go for number #1 next time, 'kay? And I'll try to avoid posts of two words or less, or at least 10 words or less, while I'm at it.

Satisfied?

reader_iam said...

I want a word count comparison! Total words for the thread!

reader_iam said...

That

reader_iam said...

should

reader_iam said...

keep

reader_iam said...

you

reader_iam said...

busy

reader_iam said...

for

reader_iam said...

a

reader_iam said...

while

reader_iam said...

anyway,

reader_iam said...

Radar!

reader_iam said...

It's

reader_iam said...

a

reader_iam said...

tough

reader_iam said...

job,

reader_iam said...

but

reader_iam said...

someone

reader_iam said...

just

reader_iam said...

has

reader_iam said...

to

reader_iam said...

do

reader_iam said...

it,

reader_iam said...

I

reader_iam said...

know!

reader_iam said...

Thanks!

former law student said...

It's funny ironic how the board's racists (it's not racism if it's based in their reality) can see only the rev's racism (it's racism even though it's based in his reality).

Rather than just say Pot, Kettle, Black, I will leave them with the following from the book of Matthew:

1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Revenant said...

It's funny ironic how the board's racists (it's not racism if it's based in their reality) can see only the rev's racism (it's racism even though it's based in his reality).

There isn't one reality for white people and another one for blacks. There's just the one reality -- the one wherein 9/11 was not "the chickens coming home to roost", AIDS was not invented by white people to kill blacks, and America is not equivalent to the KKK.

Those who feel otherwise aren't basing their belief in "their reality". They're just batshit insane.

I will leave them with the following from the book of Matthew:

I guess we can add "Christianity" to long list of things you know nothing about. Unless you actually believe that accusing white people of deliberately engineering a virus to carry out genocide against black people is just a "speck" compared to the giant "beam" of, er... what have we done that was racist, again? Oh yeah -- criticized a black man. How terribly, terribly "racist" of us.

radar said...

Hey, I just posted the stats because ZPS's comment peaked my curiosity.

I wasn't trying to rank quality of posts, just quantity.

igbalonigbanlo said...

Revenant are you sure the statistics you quoted doesn't have more to do with class aka poverty than with race?

Revenant said...

Revenant are you sure the statistics you quoted doesn't have more to do with class aka poverty than with race?

If you're asking "do I think the reason black men commit most of the murders is because they're poor" -- no. Equally poor members of other races are still less likely to commit murder.

If you're asking "do I think their race is the cause of the crime" my answer is also "no, I don't think that". The most likely culprit is culture; black immigrants don't have the same problems.

Gary Rosen said...

C-fudd - who the fuck you kiddin', sonny boy? Not long ago you were down on your knees inhaling Wright's semen, your preferred treatement of any whackjob who has it in for the Jooos. As for your praise of Truman, you must have forgotten that he was the one who made the choice to recognize Israel. Not that that's surprising - those who hate America also hate Israel and vice-versa.

Mortimer Brezny said...

America is not equivalent to the KKK.

This is actually a recent phenomenon in certain regions of the country.

Duscany said...

Obama's problem with Pennsylvania's white working class family men is that he comes across as an ingrate. He disses his elderly grandma as a racist one day for being afraid of black men in the street and calls her a typical white person the next. In one speech Obama has gone from the candidate who is above race to the black candidate. Maybe liberals can't see it but blacks are under no delusions. That's why Obama got nine out of ten black votes in some primaries.

former law student said...

Duscany: Even a non-racist like Obamas grandmother can say racist things. People of good will should be open and receptive to having such comments pointed out, lest they continue to inadvertently give offense.

Gary Rosen said...

"People of good will should be open and receptive to having such comments pointed out"

By their relatives on national media, right.

MTfromCC said...

It's ridiculous to think that a white male democrat choosing Hillary over Obama in the primary in PA won't vote for Obama in the general election. In the deep south, there are no Reagan democrats - those types of blue collar, racially influenced voters have organized through the republican party and in a truly democratic primary in a place like AL or MI, they don't exist. In border states like PA, OH, Indiana, KY, WVa, etc., the blue collar racially influenced voters are still democrats and their racial attitudes have evolved. And so, all things being equal, while an issue like Jeremiah Wright does influence them in the primary to choose Hillary over Obama, it's a real stretch to think those Clinton supporting blue collar guys are going to vote against a remarkable and charismatic Democrat like Obama in favor of a third Bush term as personified by McCain:

Recession
Iraq
Incompetence
Corruption and Scandal
Condoning torture
Ignoring global warming
Reduced Standing in World
World Not Safer
Economically Worse Off

So Kaus's notion that Obama needed to play the speech for blue collar democrats is dead wrong. Obama was speaking to the entire electorate, and most of all those supporters of his who are having second thoughts because of this. He was talking to all of us, in the most sincere and thoughtful manner imaginable, about a very difficult topic, in very honest and balanced terms that oozed intelligence and integrity, treating voters like adults for once, trusting voters to think for themselves. Unbelievably appealing.

Of course the pundits don't get it, the speech went way over their self-infatuated heads, and god knows it wasn't aimed at them -- you actually had to string 5 or 10 minutes together to get a sense of the full impact. No pundit has the attention span for more than 20-30 secons.

All I know is that I was blown away by it. That Bill Richardson was blown away by it. I suspect it made an impression on some undecided superdelegates too. CBS's poll said that 70% of the people who watched it saw it in very positive terms -- and that is not an accident.

The controversy of Jermeiah Wright is what people choose to make of it. Wing-nuts and right wing pundits have latched onto it with a zeal that borders on sick at this point. Given the one dimensional version of Trinity that has been presented by those detractors, people are justifiably concerned and questioning him. And Obama makes it a moment to take the issue on directly, in the most open and honest terms that most of us have ever heard from a politician, to look at it from everybody's different perspective, to stand by the part of himself that respects everything good that this religious leader has meant to him in terms of his spiritual development (in purely religious terms), and at the same time to renounce the more extreme statements of anger, ignorance and bigotry in its own right. Amazing, and for once, I did not feel like I was being treated like an idiot or spoonfed pablum. Disaster? More like history in the making.

MTfromCC said...

Middle Class Guy -

Obama's poll numbers were not down because of the speech, they were down because of the intensely negative media coverage of the Wright issue. His numbers are showing recovery, and as you point out, attention to Hillary's problems will change that [For example, now we find out that her campaign is running on fumes. Per the LA Times, it turns out that $15 Million of the $35 MM that she raised in February was transferred over to her Presidential campaign from her senate campaign account($10MM)or loaned by her personally to the campaign ($5MM). Turns out she has $3 Million left, and still owes herself the $5 Million, while Obama has over $30 Million in the bank. And almost all of her major contributers are maxed out for the primary season. Then we'll talk NAFTA, WH calendar, Bosnia, Mark and Denise Rich, disclosure of tax returns etc,. Talk about lost causes.

And McCain . . . well, don't get me started. There's a treasure trove of material for the media feeding frenzy to feed on with John McCain, from adultery, marriage into wealth and power, huge ties to lobbyists, and a military answer to every question ever asked about foreign policy. unh unh.

No, Obama's speech saved him from an even deeper abyss on this, and took away Hillary's last chance to pull this out, because while few things are more dangerous or destructive than an angry mob, it turns out that it's very hard for a mob to lynch someone who makes so much damn sense.

blake said...

Somebody's got a crush on Obama.

Revenant said...

No, Obama's speech saved him from an even deeper abyss on this

Hardly. At the end of the day he's still buddy-buddy with anti-white racists in a country where 70% of the electorate is white.

He had his chance to avoid the abyss by disavowing Wright. He blew it; he made excuses for Wright and tried to start a "conversation on race" that white people are frankly disinterested in having.